Saturday, October 31, 2015

10 Ways to Make a Second Income Online

Start Now


Now is the best time to start any new venture and what better motive is there than to create a second income to save up for the things you want to buy? These ten ways to create a second income have all worked for many people. For example, I publish Kindle books and have create a great secondary and passive income for myself. Many people write for websites like HubPages to create a second income. YouTube channels are becoming a popular way to bring in a secondary income that can surpass your main income. Read through this list of ideas and choose one to begin working on. If you have more time after starting one income, work on a second to create another income stream.

1. Closed Captioning


Did you know you could work online providing closed captioning for movies and shows? I didn't until recently when I turned on my television's closed captioning feature and wondered who did this and if it could be done from home. A quick search on the Internet showed me I could find work from home doing closed captioning.

2. Customer Service


Big companies hire people to provide customer service to their clients. American Express is one of the big companies hiring people to work from home. If you have customer service experience and have a dedicated office space, you can find many positions online for customer service.

3. Blogging


Of course, there is always blogging. Set up a blog and write about your passion. It can be about cooking, golf, child care, or whatever interests you the most. After setting up the blog, give yourself 30 minutes a day to write a post. Monetize the blog with Adsense or with a related affiliate program. It takes time to build up a blog, but it is worth the effort.

4. Fiverr


Amazingly, there are people making a full time living on Fiverr. Check out what other people are selling on Fiverr and take inventory of your own skills. Offer to do something that will take you less than 30 minutes to do because you will only get $4 dollars out of the $5 charged to customers.

5. Article Writing


It is not a glorious job and you certainly won't get rich overnight doing it, but writing and publishing articles does slowly add up. There are many places to publish your articles, such as HubPages. You can even set yourself up as a freelance article writer on Elance and bid on jobs. For myself, I prefer to publish my articles on sites like HubPages because I can keep earning on the articles year after year. Publish enough articles on multiple websites and you will have created a great source of passive income.

6. Crafting


Crafting is alive and well, especially on sites such as Etsy. Check out their popular crafters and see what is selling. What can you make that is unique? What is popular in the market right now and how can you put your own spin on it?

7. T-shirts


I have a friend that makes designs for t-shirts and sells them through Zazzle. There are a lot of companies that allow users to design their own t-shirts and set up a shop online. The trick is to find a niche or a group of people to target and design t-shirts specifically for them, such as lefties or people living in a particular region.

8. YouTube Channel


Some people are making a killing with their YouTube channels. So much so, that my son is working on creating his own channel. There are a lot of Kindle books popping up on the subject of setting up a successful YouTube channel and, yes, I've downloaded them all. Many people prefer to get their information passively, by watching how to videos and, of course, everyone enjoys being entertained. Now is the time to find your niche and jump in the channel game.

9. Kindle


Writing and publishing Kindle books has been a profitable venture for me. I write under 4 different pen names and have published nearly 30 books. It takes time to write a book, but if you can write and publish one book a month you will be pulling a passive income from 12 books in a year's time.

10. Udemy


You can create online course on Udemy. Teach people how to do anything, from taking the perfect portrait photo to couponing. It doesn't matter what it is, if you have a skill, you can teach it to others and make a profit from it.

How to Research Paranormal Events

Researching a paranormal event is a lot like researching any other event. You need to know the background of the area or person involved in the event, you need to go out into the field to investigate the claims, and you need to conduct interviews with witnesses.

Research First


When you learn of a paranormal event, your first step is to conduct background research. If you are researching an event that has already been written about, you will need to read up on the information that is in print. Hit the books and conduct an online search, as well.

If the event is new or if it is something that hasn't already been written about, you will need to conduct research on the area in which the event took place. Find out if other paranormal events have been reported in the area. What is the history of the area and who owns the place where the paranormal event happened.

Also, do an online search of the names of people involved in or who witnessed the paranormal event. This is less likely to turn up much of anything, but it remains an important part of the research.

Visit Location


After you have done all the background research, the next step is to visit the location in person. You will want to take along at least one digital camera that has the ability to take HD videos. Bring backup batteries or a backup charger. Photograph the location and take notes on the area.

Interviews


While you are visiting the location, try and get at least one eyewitness to the scene so that the event can be described to you. If there was more than one eyewitness, visit each one at their home or in a public setting. For the interviews, you can either film the interviews with the eyewitness's permission or record the interview with the eyewitness's permission.

During and after each interview, be sure to jot down any of your personal thoughts or observances so that you don't forget the details later on when you sit down to actually write about the event.

What Happens When You Disprove a Claim


Doing field research on paranormal events is exciting, especially when you uncover a genuine paranormal mystery. More often than not, you will be able to disprove claims of paranormal events. This happens when you discover that the claim is linked to a practical joke or when the person who has made the claim is only seeking personal attention. Sometimes car headlights really do play tricks on the eyes at night. Whatever the case, the claim is still good enough to write about. Disproving a claim to your readers shows that you have integrity and that you are not afraid to disprove an occurrence that you desperately want to believe in.

Researching for a Book


Researching paranormal events, one by one, is a great way to build material for a book. You can focus on specific regions, states, or even focus on a city that experiences a high level of paranormal activity. There are many ways to spin a book that will include your personal paranormal research. Not only can you focus on regions, but you can focus on types of events, as well. More elaborate events may even take up the contents of an entire book. It is up to you to head out into the field and find these gems in the rough.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Seeking Book Writing Ideas Outside the Home

As writers, we are often trapped inside the home or in the office, living in our own little world that we have invented inside our own little mind. This is great when you are working on a current book project, but what about after you have finished your book and feel drained of new ideas? Then it is time to get out and explore the world around you. Gain inspiration from any of these activities.

The Knick Knack Store


There are certain stores I like to visit for inspiration and they sell everything from knick knacks to antiques. In fact, I can't walk into an antique mall without a pen and paper for writing down all the ideas I get just by looking at everything. Many of these types of places are family friendly and have a restaurant and an outdoor area to enjoy yourself. Make a day of it.

Craft, Hardware, or Health Food Stores


I get book and article ideas from all these places and they are all a quick drive from my home. Whenever I need a brain jiggle for inspiration, I'll visit one of these stores to brainstorm. I also check out the books on the racks to see what the major publishers are putting out.

Historical Areas


There are monuments all over the place. You probably drive by at least one that you have never stopped to look at. Head outside and check it out. It may be boring, but, then again, it may spark an idea.

Museums and Art Exhibits


You may be sick of hearing about this recommendation, but it is one that really works. Even if you don't really appreciate art or history exhibits, there will always be something there to spark your imagination. Stop by the guest shop for even more ideas.

Go Camping. In a Tent.


There is no better way, in my opinion, to de-stress, re-focus, and come up with ideas than by camping in a tent. Look for local state parks in your area. They usually have cheaper tent camping prices than commercial campgrounds. If you absolutely abhor the idea of camping in a tent, then rent a cabin or yurt for the night. Spend the night in front of the fire pit and relax. You will probably find yourself getting hit left and right with ideas so bring along pen and paper.

Visit Libraries and Bookstores


I am a library addict and can walk away with at least 10 books at a time. My teens also have library cards so that when I hit my book limit, I borrow more books on their cards. I then immerse myself for a few days in books, books, and more books.

Another thing I like to do between writing books is go to the local Goodwill store. They sell used books there at 25 cents a piece. I go in with $5.30 and walk out with 20 books. It's heavenly.

Walk, Hike, Run


Exercise gets the blood flowing and reduces stress. It also boosts your creativity. Get out and hike a new trail. You can find lists of trails in your area by simply doing an online search. Learn a bit about the history of the trail and the area that it is in. These are excellent sources for book ideas.

Theater


Go see a movie. Go see a play. Step out of your element and watch something outside of your genre.

Fairs and Festivals


From May Day to Halloween, there are fairs going on everywhere. Make plans to attend as many of them as you can. These events are almost always a great source ideas for books, both fiction and non-fiction.

Just Do Something. Anything



It doesn't matter what you do, just make sure it is outside of the house or office where you work. Even going out to the wood pile and chopping wood will reduce stress and get your creative juices flowing. Going out to a fine restaurant is also a nice way to relax and eavesdrop on conversations for inspiration.

10 Things You Can Write Using a Rhyming Dictionary

A year or so ago, I bought a used rhyming dictionary and, it turns out, it was the best 25 cents I have ever spent. During my down time or when I am in a writing funk, I grab it and start writing stupid slogans, quirky chants, and the worst possible greeting card messages. Ironically, some writers make a living writing this crap, and more power to them. I'll keep my crude rhymes to myself. Mostly.

1. A Rhyming Children's Book


The paper publishing trend has been to stay away from rhyming children's books, but I love them. Rhyming picture books are so much fun to read and they usually have a great rhythm to them. Since traditional publishers haven't been publishing as many of these types of books as I would like, I have turned to buying Kindle children's ebooks to read to my toddler.

2. Witty Bumper Stickers


If there are a few choice words you would like to share with the rest of us, bust out a rhyme and set up an account on Zazzle.com. With Zazzle, you can write and sell your own bumper stickers. Set up a Facebook page and advertise your wit to the world.

3. A Book of Chants


You don't need to be a witch to write a good chant (although it certainly doesn't hurt). You can write religious chants, coaching chants, and inspirational chants to publish in an ebook.

4. Lewd Limericks


It's been at least a decade since I have written a limerick, and, oh my, I forgot how much fun it is!

There was a mean bitch from Nantucket
Who said, one day, to "just fuck it."
So she grabbed a big axe,
Gave her beau a few whacks,
And cleaned up the mess with a bucket.

You can publish an ebook of limericks centered around a main theme, such as 50 Way to Axe Your Lover. You can also have your limericks printed on coffee mugs, t-shirts, and other merchandise.

5. Cheesy Poetry


Goddess bless the cheesy poet! Publish your poetry as an ebook or create your own e-card website.

6. Prayers


Religious prayers are fun to write, especially if you through in a bit of satire. But, seriously, there are books of prayers published for just about every religion: Pagan, Christian, Judaism, Buddhism, and more.

7. Snarky Slogans


People make good money coming up with slogans for businesses. Some of these rhyme and some don't. You can also create slogans for different humanitarian causes and enter into slogan contests.

8. Sappy Greeting Cards


I know two people who write greeting cards professionally, and I have no idea how they manage to get into that sappy frame of mind that makes all the soft hearts go "awww". If you are an emotional basket case, writing for greeting card companies just might be your calling.

9. Write a Rap


Write and perform educational raps for YouTube. You can also write raps about stupid things, like changing diapers or doing the damn dishes. These raps are often popular on YouTube and you can earn an income from your raps through advertising.

10. Picture Quotes


Picture quotes are those things you see all over Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest. You can make your own picture quotes to share on your accounts and gain new popularity (or lose all your friends).

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Short Story Writing - Public Domain 1900

The short story has certainly withstood the test of time. This public domain book, Short Story Writing, can be read online for free. It was originally copyrighted in 1898 and again in 1900.

A Practical Treatise on the Art of the Short Story
By Charles Raymond Barrett

This book explores all aspects of the short story, from the title to the plot to methods of narration. The writing is a bit stiff and wordy, but the introduction explaining the history of short stories is interesting.

Is this book relevant to writers today? Absolutely. I particularly enjoyed the chapter on the different types of short stories, “Short Stories Classified”.

In the chapter on plotting, the author writes:


“In Detective Stories, however, the plot is all-important, the the interest depends entirely upon the unraveling of some tangle; but even here it must contain but a single idea, though that may be rather involved. Such stories are really much simper than they appear, for their seeming complexity consists in telling the story backwards, and so reasoning from effect to cause, rather than vice versa as in the ordinary tale.”

Publishing Genealogy Research as a Kindle Book

Researching your family tree takes a lot of work and dedication. Many people who have spent years gathering information often wish they could publish a book on their research for family members but that it can be very expensive. Publishing your research on Kindle, however, is free.

Types of Genealogy Books


There are a number of types of genealogy books you can publish. Four of the most popular types of personal genealogy books are:

Cookbook - Create a cookbook of all your family recipes.

Family Tree - Publish your family tree. Add photos and family stories.

Biographies - Publish a book of biographies of your ancestors.

Historical Novel - Turn the life of an ancestor into a historical novel.

Parts of a Genealogy Book


You only need certain parts or sections for a Kindle genealogy book.

Cover - As a genealogy book, you can keep your cover fairly simple since it will only really appeal to people in your immediate family and people who bare the same last name. You can also have a nice cover made on Fiverr.com.

Title Page - The title page in a Kindle book includes the title of your work and the name of the author(s) and / or editor(s).

Copyright Information and Acknowledgements - The next page you will need to include is all the copyright information. For a genealogy book, you should also list the owners of the photographs you used in your book and thank them. Thank people for their help in your research.

Introduction - Introduce the book to your readers. State the purpose and goal of the book.

Dedication - A dedication can be added, if desired.

Body of the Book - This is the meat of the book. It can be divided into chapters or sections, depending on the type of book.

Bibliography - A list of resources used to write the book.

Making Updates


The beauty of Kindle books is that you can update your books as often as you need to. The books that have already been downloaded will automatically be updated. This means you can add birth and death information on an ongoing basis. Mistakes can be corrected.

Pricing


Finally, there is the issue of pricing. On Kindle, the lowest price you can set for your book is 99 cents. However, to get it to your family for free, you can enroll your book in the KDP program and schedule your book to be offered for free. During the free days, you can contact your family and have them download your Kindle genealogy book at no cost.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Skip Elance and Write Your Own eBooks

I have been reading up on ebook writing and how other writers are earning money from it. There have been quite a few people that recommend selling ebook writing skills on Elance.com, so I set up an account and began looking at the jobs posted.

Are These People Smoking Crack?


To say I wasn't impressed would be a terrible understatement. Disgusted is a more accurate description of the insulting jobs available to freelance writers on Elance.

For example, there are posts from people looking to hire ebook writers for less than 1 cent per word. One job offer paid roughly .006 cents per word. The poster wanted the ebook writer to write a 24,000 word ebook. At a pay of only $144, any writer worth her weight in cauliflower should just publish the ebook herself.

Earn More for Yourself


There were only a few higher paying jobs for ebook writers with one poster offering $1,000 for an ebook. That is a nice bit of upfront money to earn for writing an ebook in 2 weeks, but I would still argue that you can earn more than that writing and publishing that ebook for yourself.

When you write an ebook for an Elance buyer, you lose all rights to that book. It will be published under another name, probably a pen name. The person who bought your work will be earning money off of your hard work month after month.

When you write an ebook and publish it yourself, you earn money off that ebook, month after month. If you can write an ebook in two weeks, that means you can write and publish up to 24 ebooks a year. That is a lot of ebooks to start earning money off of month after month..

A Little Money Now or More Money Over Time


What it all comes down to is whether you want a little bit of money right away or do you want to risk earning more money but over a longer period of time? If you need a chunk of money within the month, then by all means sell yourself to the buyers on Elance. If the money is not necessary for your immediate survival, write your ebook in two weeks, publish it on Kindle, and take the happy risk of possibly earning far more than a measly upfront payment.


Do what works best and feels best for you. For myself, I will not be bidding on any of the jobs posted on Elance. I make far more money writing and publishing my own ebooks.

Publish a Pagan Kindle Book

You dream of writing the perfect Pagan themed book. You have probably already checked out the submission guidelines for at least three of the most popular publishers of Pagan books. You may have even sent out queries and proposals, but have received rejections from all of them. What should you do? Self publish on Kindle.

What is Kindle?


The Kindle is a small tablet created by Amazon.com to read the electronic books published on Amazon.com's Kindle platform. Newer Kindle devices, such as the Kindle Fire, can also be used to search the internet and run apps. Kindle books, also called ebooks, are now outselling the print books sold on Amazon.com.

Why Choose Kindle?


There are many ways to self publish your books. Smashwords is a popular place to create and sell ebooks. There is also NOOK Press by Barnes and Noble. However, from my own experience, Amazon.com's independent publishing service exceeds these and other self publishing groups.

The reasons for choosing Kindle include:


  • There are plenty of free guides on formatting your ebook for Kindle.
  • You can easily format your ebook in MS Word.
  • It does not cost you anything to publish your ebook on Kindle.
  • You will be able to reach out to an audience of millions and sell your ebook to people in other countries.
  • You can design your own book cover or hire someone to create your cover for you on Fiverr.com.
  • You are in charge of marketing your ebook.
  • Establishing yourself as a Pagan writer is very easy because the genre is not yet overwhelmed.


Why Paganism?


What an awesome subject! Being Pagan for nearly 30 years, I can say that I never get tired of all the history and beliefs that fall under Paganism. There are so many wonderful ebooks coming to light these days, books that a large publishing house would never touch. These ebooks include historical information on just about everything, from brooms to superstitions to magical creatures, and there is plenty of room for more. Books of spells, chants, and rituals also sell fairly well on Kindle.

The Money


To date, I have published 19 ebooks on Kindle. Most of these books are under pen names. Not all of my ebooks are of a Pagan nature, but my best selling ebooks are my Pagan ones. This may be because there simply aren't enough ebooks available for us on Kindle just yet. Personally, I like to believe it's because Pagans are voracious readers. We'll read just about anything we can get our hands on.

With the sales of the ebooks you publish, you will earn a royalty percentage. Ebooks that are priced between $2.99 and $9.99 earn a 70 percent royalty. Ebooks priced between $0.99 and $2.98 receive a 35 percent royalty.

Let's say you publish an ebook for $2.99. For each sale of that book, you will get about $2. If you sell 50 copies of the ebook each month, you will earn roughly $100 a month for that book. To earn even more each month, you will want to publish 10 ebooks at $2.99 a month. If each of those ebooks sell 50 copies a month, that's $1,000 a month in your pocket.

This is just a mid range estimate for books published for Pagans. There are people who sell thousands of copies a month and there are people who are only able to sell 2 or three copies a month.

How many ebooks you sell will depend on numerous factors:


  • Your writing skills.
  • Your book's cover (people DO judge a book by its cover).
  • Your ability to build a following.
  • The subject matter of your book.
  • Your book's title.
  • The season or month.


Get Writing


Before I discovered the wonders of publishing on Kindle, I was barely making ends meet. I am a single mother with two teenagers and a toddler. It was my teenage son that got me into writing Kindle ebooks, and if it wasn't for his lecture on why I should just go for it, I would still be struggling.

There is no excuse for you. There is no more worrying about rejection notices or the hassle of putting together a huge proposal. Just write your heart out. Write about your beliefs. Write about your practice. Research and write some more. And join me. Enter the ranks of the professional writer. Learn the ins and outs of the self publishing trade, and, for Goddess' sake, write some more!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Trick to Coming Up With Book and Blog Post Ideas

There is only one trick you need to learn to come up with amazing book and blog post ideas, and it is not really a trick at all. All you need to do is pay attention.

Open Your Eyes


You are surrounded with potential book ideas, both nonfiction and fiction. Even where you are sitting or standing right now, there are plenty of ideas to pick from. You just need to open your eyes.

Let’s say you are out of a job and you are right now sitting at your computer, thinking about writing a book. You have no idea what to write about. Well, you just lost your job and you are now in the same boat as many other people. What can you write about being jobless? How have other people survived without a 9 to 5 job? Are there other ways to earn money? All of these things are great topics for a book.

Look Around


Explore your surroundings. Are sitting on the bus? Do some people watching and create stories about the people you see. Are you sitting in your living room? Look around at what you see. Do you collect things? What are they and why do you collect them? Do you have too much clutter? How can you declutter your home? Can you earn money from your clutter? Again, turn your ideas and solutions into a book.

Pen and Paper


Teach yourself to see ideas wherever you go. When you are taking a walk, plan a murder in your town and write notes on how you’d do it. Create a hero that will discover your evil plot and catch you in the end.

Take notes while you are in the grocery store. Walk through the fruit and vegetable aisles. Could you create a recipe book with any of the ingredients you see? How about a squash cookbook? Read through the magazine headlines. Do any of the titles spark an interest? Is it something you could research and write more about? Maybe you could turn your research into a series of blog posts.


Everywhere you go, from the bathroom to the doctor’s office, should inspire new ideas. When you learn to turn on your brain, you will never run out of ideas or run into writer’s block.

Pros and Cons of Writing Short Kindle Books

Last month I began testing out short Kindle books. I wrote a series of 4 short, 4,000 to 7,000 words, booklets for Kindle under a new pen name. My goal was to test out whether or not these short books actually sell.

For a niche, I did my research and looked into groups of people who would be interested in strictly how-to books without all the fluff. Once I discovered a group of people I could relate to, I chose the subjects of my 4 booklets - all closely related - so that in a future date I could combine the short booklets into a much large book.

I began my research and my writing. With my writing schedule, it took me 3 days to write the books part time - about 3 hours per day. Editing and layout was a breeze, but would the books sell?

Pricing


I priced each of the books at 99 cents and put them up for free for the first 3 days (3 is my lucky number so I work in threes often).

During the free period, I got a lot of downloads, but I still wasn’t sure how those freebies would translate into sales or if I was just wasting my time.

Sales


After the free period, the sales began immediately. In fact, I was floored by the amount of sales the booklets were getting, and I continue to be floored that they sell so well. But are the sales good enough to compete with my books that are selling at $2.99? Almost.

I currently have about 30 books published. All but six of those books are priced at $2.99. The four newest 99 cent books were well thought out, researched, and targeted to a specific audience. I make more money off those booklets than I do with my four least selling $2.99 books. My four best selling $2.99 books make far more monthly income than the four 99 cent books at this time.

Is It Worth the Trouble?


Absolutely. After this little experiment to see if short Kindle books can compete in earnings with longer, $2.99 books, I can see how people are making good money writing booklets and short reports.

Do It In Series


When writing short books, do it in series. The four short books I wrote were all part of one series. The other two short books are not, and the series books greatly outsell the stand-alones. Also, when you write a series of short books, you can plan, as I am, to one day put all the short books together into one large bundle and sell them at a higher price.

Monday, October 26, 2015

The 3 Ways to End a Fiction Book

Sometimes ending a story can be as difficult as starting one, but just as there are 3 ways to start a fiction book, there are 3 ways to end it, too. Just knowing the 3 ways to end a fiction book will help you choose and write the proper ending for your story.

The 3 Ends to Books


1. Just Before the Full Solution to the Problem

You can end your book right before the full solution to the main character's problem is reached. Ending a book this way leaves the reader uncertain as to what happens next and this ending is usually used in book series so that readers will jump to read the next book. The Harry Potter books are an excellent example of this type of ending. Some of Harry Potter's problems were solved by the end of the book, but his overall problem with Lord Voldemort doesn't get solved until the end of the series.

2. When the Solution is Attained

You can end your book just as the main character's problem is solved. For example, in a detective novel, the book can end just as the bad guy is caught or the puzzle is solved.

3. After the Problem has been Solved

Finally, you can end your book after the main character's problem is solved. You can do this with a wind-down (anticlimax) chapter that shows the main character going on with her life.

Knowing is Half the Battle



When you know the opening points and the closing points to your book, the rest come easily - the meat of the story. If you are new at writing fiction, place a list of starting and ending points on your desk or on your wall where you can quickly reference them.

Preparing to Write a Children's Chapter Book for Grades 1-3

How many times have you read through a simple chapter book and thought to yourself, "I could easily write a story like this"? I know I have each and every time I sat down with my kids and read a chapter book to them. Goodness, this does look easy. But, looks can be deceiving.

Series or Stand Alone


One of the first things you need to decide on is whether to make a series or a stand alone book. With children's chapter books, series work best, such as Time Warp Trio and Magic Tree House series. This is because children get attached to characters and writing styles and want to read more about them.

Stand alone books are great, but they are harder to sell.

Word Count


The word count for chapter books for grades 1 through 3 is generally 1,500 to 10,000. That is roughly 48 to 80 pages in length. Of course, you can break the rules and go a bit bigger, say a 12,000 word chapter book, but don't go under 1,500 words.

Keep Chapters Short


Children read from chapter to chapter. You will often see them check ahead to see how many pages are in a chapter. If there are only a few pages, great. If the chapter is long, the child will feel defeated before she even begins to read the book. Keep your chapters short, from 350 words to 600 words per chapter.

Illustrations


Children check for illustrations. If you are self publishing, consider getting a few black and white illustrations made for each book.

3 Act Structure


When writing a children's chapter book, the plot is kept very simple. There is usually only one main problem to solve in each book.

Each book includes the set up of the situation, the confrontation of the problem (a rise in action), and the resolution. This is a very basic plot structure that is used time and again in children's books.

Basic Outline


There are quite a few fiction writers who claim that an outline is stifling to their creativity. Baloney. An outline is simply a guide to help you write faster and keep you focused on your plot. FOr a children's chapter book, your outline can be as simple as a sentence telling what will happen for each chapter. You don't need to go any further than that with an outline for early reader chapter books.

Character Development



As with writing fiction for adults, you should give each of your characters a distinct personality and background. This is especially true if you are writing a series. Make a character sheet for each character that describes what she looks like, personality type, and even a sentence or two dedicated to the character's background and family life. Doing this prevents you from creating one dimensional characters.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

The 3 Ways to Start a Fiction Book

Starting a fiction book can be troublesome to new writers, but there is a way to make it easier. When you know the three ways you can start your book, you can choose one and begin your writing.

Know What Your Character Wants


Before you begin writing your fiction book, you need to know what your main character wants, what is his main goal? As an example, let's say that the main character wants to clear his name of murder charges.

The Character's Obstacles


Next, you need to know some of the obstacles or problems that are going to affect your character and prevent him from reaching his want or goal. In our example, we already know that the character is facing false murder charges. In his way are corrupt policemen and falsified evidence.

Knowing just these two simple facts, each just a basic statement, you can decide on how you will be starting your book.

The 3 Starts to Books


1. Before the Problem Shows Itself

You can start the book before the problem arises. For our example, we can start the book with the man spending a family fun evening with his wife and kids. It is not until he finishes work early the next day that he stumbles onto the scene of a crime and gets falsely accused of murder.

2. When the Problem Appears

You can start your book just as the obstacle or problem presents itself. This would mean we would begin our story with the man stumbling onto the murder scene.

3. After the Problem Appears

Finally, you can start your book in the thick of the plot. You would start your story with the man standing in the police station, trying to tell his side of the story and being arrested on suspicion of murder.


Knowing the 3 places to start a story will help you decide on the best starting point for the book you want to write.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

The 5 Benefits of Writing Every Day

I have read up on the benefits of writing every day and a few claims that writing every day can be too stressful for a blooming writer. The thing is, I do write every day, even if it is just a thousand words or the outline for another book. I can’t imagine spending a day not writing or doing something related to writing.

1. Improves Writing Skills


The more you write, the more your writing improves. That is a fact that can’t be disputed.

I can look back at the stuff I wrote and published online back in 1997 and see that my writing has improved over the years. Heck, if I really wanted to torture myself, I’d pull out my notebooks full of teenage poetry and see how much my writing has changed, but I am not that brave.

Some people say that just spending 15 minutes on writing each day will help your writing skills. I opt for a minimum of 30 minutes a day. In 30 minutes, you can write a blog post or begin a book outline or do research for an article (research requires writing notes and that counts as writing). It doesn’t matter if you spend your writing time composing haikus or writing a love letter, just set aside time to write every day.

2. Increases Your Word Counts


The more you write, the faster you get your words out. What used to take my an hour to write, I can not do in 30 minutes or less. This is only because I write every single day.

Years ago, I used to write everything out on paper and then type and edit the article. It was a slow method for me, although other people love this method. When I was finally hired in by The New York Times to write for About.com, I started typing everything directly onto my computer. I had to remember the correct finger placement on the keyboard and from there I began typing faster and faster every day. These days my fingers have a mind of their own and type away at lightning speeds.

When you write every day, you will get faster at writing. Instead of typing 500 words an hour, you will be able to get 1,000 words or more an hour - perfect length for an article or blog post.

3. Turns Writing Into a Habit


When you first start out on the mission to write every day, it will, on some days, feel like a chore. You might not want to do it on certain days and you might come up with a zillion other things you need to do that don’t involve writing. Push all of that aside.

Force yourself to write every day. Do it no matter what. Create a writing schedule and keep to it. In time, writing every day becomes a habit. Eventually, it may even become an addiction.

4. Removes Stress


Deadlines are stressful, but writing is not. Dumping out all my thoughts and worries onto the screen gives me time to contemplate what is bothering me. I can go back to my writing the next day and see a solution to my problem or wonder why the heck I was so worried over something so trivial.

Writing gets all the crap out of your head.

5. It Can Earn You Money


Yes! The great news about writing is that it can earn you money. Even if you decide to dedicate only 30 minutes to writing each day, you can use that time to write a blog post. Dedicate 1 or more hours per day to writing, and you are well on your way to writing a Kindle book.

Writing is not pointless. In fact, if you are going to dedicate time each day to writing, you may as well try your hand at earning money from your work. When you start to see the money come in, you will be hooked.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Top 5 Stupid Things People Say to Writers

I have been a "real" writer for over a decade. I have been published in multiple formats, I have been a contracted writer, and I am also a self-published writer. I take my work seriously. However, there are some people that say the damnedest things to me. Here are my favorite.

1. Get a Real Job


I had someone in my life that loved to throw this one at me. Notice that he is no longer around.

Writing is a "real" job. A writer does work and it earns the writer an income. Hence, writing is a job.

2. Can You Write a Book About Me?


Um… Why?

Over the years, I have been approached by many people asking if I could write a book about them or their family. I usually just smile and find an excuse to make an escape.

You and your family would have to be pretty darn amazing or interesting to sell books. Is anyone in your family a serial killer? That would sell books. Have you made an amazing discovery? That might sell a few books. Your journey to self-discovery through stamp collecting will not sell books.

3. All You Do is Sit There


Yeah, well that is how books get written.

All this sitting is not easy. I would rather be driving to nowhere, getting trashed at a cocktail party (I will have to put that one on my bucket list), and getting a tooth drilled than sitting here day after day writing. You try it out and see how all this seclusion makes you feel. By the end of the day, I bet you will be dreaming of all the excitement you could have cleaning out the refrigerator.

Truth is, sitting here AND WRITING is not all that fun.

4. Writing is Not Hard Work


Okay. You do it. Today I want you to write 5 articles. Each article must be at least 500 words in length and be SEO friendly. I want you to write about healing from a hernia, the origin of the word "blockhead", how long a chicken can live without its head, how to make a fluffy pancakes with buttermilk, and an article about the top 10 best cell phone plans for people living in Mongolia. When you are finished with your articles, you will spend the rest of your time working on an ebook that you will be self-publishing. I want you to research keywords and find the best title for your book. When you are finished, I want you to create an outline for your book. Tomorrow, the list will continue. Don't expect weekends off.

5. You Have All This Free Time


Heh… Someone in my family would always assume that since I was a writer, I could stop at anytime and go off to do things. Not if I want an income.

It took years until my well loved family member understood that I have a schedule that I must keep to. If I don't write, I don't earn money. If I don't earn money, then expect me to show up at your house with my pillow and a backpack. How soft is your couch?

Thursday, October 22, 2015

The Only Hack You Will Ever Need to Avoid Writer’s Block

Writer’s block can be a frustrating and even humiliating experience for writers new and old. There are people who have suffered through writer’s block more times than they care to count. Still, others have never experienced it and go on to deny its very existence.

Whether you have suffered from writer’s block or not, this is the only trick you need to make sure that you always have a steady flow of ideas.

Keep a Notebook of Ideas


That’s it.

I have a collection of “Fat Lil’ Notebooks” that I bought specifically for jotting down my ideas and title ideas. The notebooks go back over 2 decades, so I am never without an idea on what to write about.

Fill It When the Going’s Good


Have you ever had one of those days where the ideas seem to hit you faster than you can write them down? Take advantage of those days and begin jotting down every book and article idea you have. Keep them in your notebook and, later on, make a second copy of them in a computer file.

I find that when I am coping my ideas into TextEdit, I come up with even more ideas and expansions on post ideas that can be turned into a series of posts.

Write Down Title Ideas


I like to think in descriptive titles for my nonfiction ideas. This means that if I have an idea for a post about the only trick needed for avoiding writer’s block, I will write the idea down as a title: The Only Hack You Will Ever Need to Avoid Writer’s Block. If I need to expand on the idea, I might write it out like this:

The Only Hack You Will Ever Need to Avoid Writer’s Block
  -keep a list

Again, that’s it.

Try It


Get yourself a small notebook and begin carrying it around with you everywhere you go. Jot down ideas whenever you get them. If you are in need of ideas to add to your notebook, head over to the library and begin checking out the books that interest you. Take a long walk and jot down anything that comes to mind. It doesn’t matter how you get your inspirations, as long as you make that list.

Now, whenever you feel depleted of any ideas, just turn to your notebook. Flip through it, add more thoughts to it, and grab an idea out of it to begin working on.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

There’s Not Much Dutch on Kindle

While I was doing the research for one of my books, I came across the fact that there is very little available about the Pennsylvania Germans on the Kindle platform. Sure, there are plenty of paper edition books on everything from hex signs to recipe books, but when it comes to the kindle books, the selection of books is rather dismal.

Pennsylvania German phrase books, powwow books, and historical books fill the paper editions. The only really interesting PA German I can find in Kindle is Thomas White’s book on the Witches of Pennsylvania: Occult History and Lore.

Steady Sales, Not Bestsellers


From the look of it, paper editions of certain Pennsylvania German books are steady, but not best sellers. This means that if you publish a nonfiction book about a popular aspect of the PA Germans, you will get sales here and there, but you more than likely won’t make millions. PA German cookbooks are also popular among people who don’t want low fat, sugar free recipes.

Fiction is the Way to Go


I simply cannot believe the popularity of Amish fiction, especially in the romance and soft detective series. While the Amish live far differently than the PA Germans, there is a wealth of historical material on the PA germans to turn a great many fictitious tale. For example, the PA Germans who moved into the Pocono region to mine coal and the PA Germans who fought in every war known to this country.

The PA Germans also have a rich culture of folklore and superstitions that can be turned into ghost stories and paranormal novels.

Something to Look Into


While the markets continue to get flooded with the same old, same old, it is worth looking into the Pennsylvania German culture and their beliefs.

Reasons Why You Should Stop Drinking Milk

I gave up dairy products in early 2015 because my youngest child was diagnosed as being allergic to milk and all products with milk in them. This meant she could no longer each dairy cheese, dairy chocolate, and many of the cookies and other baked goods on the market. I felt that it would be cruel to buy and eat the things she was missing out on, so I decided to go dairy free, too.

This led to a lot of experiments in cooking and baking. We tested out different products, such as vegan non-dairy butter. There were some errors along the way, but there were twice as many successes.

After being off of dairy for the first two months, I noticed that I felt healthier. I suddenly had more energy, which, I thought, was kind of weird. I grew up in Pennsylvania German country where milk and dairy products were the main staple in the diet. Wasn’t milk supposed to be good for you? A wholesome food? What I have learned surprised me.

Up to 75 Percent Can’t Stomach Milk


There are an increasing number of studies and reports on milk consumption. Some of these conclude that up to 75 percent of the world’s population can’t stomach milk. Some people notice bloating, diarrhea, flatulence, and stomach pains after drinking milk. Other people never recognize the symptoms. The best way to find out if you are lactose intolerant is to speak with your family doctor. For the record, The Dairy Council claims that only five percent of adults are lactose intolerant.

Bad for the Skin


IGF-1, a hormone found in milk, can cause all sorts of skin problems. If you suffer from acne or eczema, you may want to consider giving up milk entirely. Many women who have given up dairy noticed a significant change in their skin just two months after quitting the white substance.

Weight Gain


After I quit consuming dairy, something amazing happened: I started losing weight. It wasn’t a tremendous loss of weight, like when I combine actual portion control and exercise. Instead, I would lose a pound or two each month. Cutting out dairy cuts out a lot of fattening foods. I replaced dairy ice cream with coconut milk ice cream and since it was so expensive, eating ice cream really did become a rare treat. I also used to love cheese and since I don’t touch low fat products, I was consuming a lot of extra fat and calories. Removing dairy from my diet eliminated the cheese. Since many other products found on store shelves also contain milk or whey, processed foods were also eliminated from my diet. I now focus on cooking and baking whole foods.

Cancer Link


There are hormones in milk, including organic milk, that are believed to be linked to prostate and breast cancer. Casein, a milk protein, has also been linked to cancer growth. The cancer link alone should be enough to consider reducing the amount of milk you consume on a daily basis. The Dairy Council claims that there is no link between breast cancer and the consumption of milk.

Does Not Protect Against Bone Fractures


All my life I’ve been told that I have to drink milk to grow healthy, strong bones. As a woman in my 40s, I am still being told that I need to drink milk to prevent bone fractures. Interestingly enough, The Harvard Nurses’ Health Study followed over 75,000 women for 12 years. Their study found that drinking milk provided no protection against bone fractures.

Cows Milk is for Calves


Human breast milk is for babies, and no woman in her right mind would feed her breast milk to a different species. Mother cows make milk for their babies. It is specifically designed to be the perfect food for calves, not humans. Among all the mammals on the planet, humans are the only ones who actively drink the mother’s milk of a different species.

Adding Calcium to Your Diet


When my youngest was first diagnosed as being allergic to dairy, one of my first worries was getting enough calcium into the diet. I quickly learned that eating right gave us the calcium we both needed. 

  • Alternative milks - You can get calcium drinking alternative milks, such as almond, coconut, or cashew milk.
  • Yogurts - There are non-dairy yogurts available. My youngest child and I both eat coconut milk yogurt.
  • Greens - Vegetables are a part of every meal. Include kale, spinach, Swiss chard, and collard green in your diet.
  • Almonds - Add almonds to your diet. Surprisingly, the contain calcium.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

This Old School Trick Will Improve Your Writing Skills

I was about 12-years old the first time I heard of this trick. I spent after-school time practicing my writing skills on an old, electric typewriter (I can still hear the hum of it in my ears). After reading about this trick in a book on writing I borrowed from the school library, I put the old typewriter to the test and broke the thing in the process.

What’s the Trick?


Copying the work of others!

Select a favorite short story, magazine article, or a favorite book and begin copying it. Copy the book on the computer or write it onto paper.

It Does Work


When you copy, word for word, the works of other published writers, you get the opportunity to examine the flow of text. You learn how the author pieced together her story and how she constructed dialogue between her characters. You quickly learn the ins and outs of plotting.

Computer or Paper?


To save on paper, I prefer to type my copies. Sometimes I will select a copyright expired book to type in and donate to one of the websites that still post old works online.

If you feel more comfortable writing out a book by hand, by all means, do so. Some writers feel that we absorb more of the book’s details if we take the time to write them out by hand.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Easy Crochet Bath Mitt Free Pattern

Washcloth Bath Mitts



When I was young, my mother and her companion would take trips across Europe. On her return, she would always have goodies for me to sit down and open. This may sound odd but one of my favorite items she ever brought back was a hand mitt wash cloth from Germany. It was my personal washcloth and I used it at every bath until, years later, it became too threadbare to use.

Now that I've gotten back into knitting and crocheting, I've decided to crochet myself a simple hand mitt washcloth. Like the one from Germany, this one also has a loop in the one corner for hanging up - very convenient if you use those suction cup hooks in the bathroom.

Bath Mitt Pattern


I used kitchen yarn (cotton) for this project. I believe the brand is Peaches and Cream.

Size H hook.

Chain 21.

You will be using hdc in the back loops throughout.

Hdc in 3rd chain from hook. Hdc across. Chain 2 and turn.

Hdc every row until mitt is 14 inches long. If hanging loop is desired, after you finish last row, chain 10 and then slip stitch loop into place in last hdc.

Fold mitt in half so that it is 7 inches in length. Pin sides together and sew both sides. Weave in ends and turn right side out.

Tips on How to Write Your Book Faster

Everyone and their pet hamster wants to know how they can learn to writer faster. The overall answer to this question is: Practice. Every. Day.

Here are the basic steps to learning how to write faster and easier.

1. Do Your Research


Before your ever begin the writing phase of your book, do your research first. Stopping mid-book to research something essential to your plot can cause writer's block and break up the flow of your writing. It is also an unnecessary distraction that you can avoid. Do all your research first.

2. Make an Outline


Whether you are writing fiction or nonfiction, outlines help you to remember where you are taking your plot and what you should write about next. A basic plot skeleton can be written inside of an hour. You can write your book from the simplest skeleton or you can flesh it out with notes, research, and reminders so that you always know what you are writing about and what plot scene you are writing towards.

3. Use Symbols, Initials, and Abbreviations


When I get "in the zone" while writing fiction, I feel like I can't type as fast as I think. To play catch up with myself, I will start to use symbols, such as @, initials for characters (TZ), and I will abbrev. words.

4. Cut Out Distractions


Throw the TV out the window, take a hammer to your cellphone, and ban all social media. These three things are the major time suckers in our world.

If you have a small child, like I do, accept that there will always be interruptions, but they are good interruptions because little ones don't stay little forever. Older kids, however, can be given chores to do and will understand that they should only disrupt you during work hours when it is absolutely necessary.

5. Set a Timer


For some people, this works extremely well. Since I have a toddler, I can set the timer (I use Apimac Timer) for 15 minutes and write. Then I set it for 10 minutes and give my toddler attention or have her help me prepare lunch or dinner. It works for us because she is finally starting to play by herself with her toys.

Those without small children can set the timer for larger blocks of time. I have read many people using the 45 - 15 schedule where they write for 45 minutes and take a break to do something else for 15 minutes.

6. Just Write, Write, and Write


When you are hammering out the first draft, do not do edits as you are writing. Don't go back over paragraphs to tighten them. Just write. Ignore your errors. You will get to them later. Right now, you just need to write. Don't even bother looking at the screen if the temptation is too great to make corrections. Stare at your keyboard and type.

Some writers claim that they get more writing down when they sit with pen and paper and write longhand. That is how I started out writing years ago and it is still something I do when I can't use one of my devices.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Writing to Build a Passive Income

Creating a Passive Income


The internet has opened up a whole new world to writers that wasn't available 15 years ago - a world of passive income. Before the internet, the only way writers could build a passive income was by getting traditional publishers to publish their books and provide royalties to writers while their books were in print. Today, writers have far more control over what they write, who they write for, and their income has no limits.

While you shouldn't expect to become rich overnight, writing and building a passive income online is a great way to build up extra monthly income and, possibly, overcome the earnings you make from your day job.

Publishing Kindle Books


My favorite passive income comes from publishing Kindle books. Kindle has taken self-publishing to new heights. It gives writers full control over what they publish and how often they publish. The earning potentials are unlimited.

If you haven't attempted to write a Kindle book, now is a good time to start. Books published on Kindle must me, at minimum, 2,500 words in length. These Kindle shorts, when well-written, sell just as well as traditional full-length books.

Also, you will want to start with writing non-fiction. This means, you can write about subjects you already know and eventually move on to subjects that interest you.

Devote yourself to a book challenge, such as the 100 Kindle book challenge, and start reading other Kindle books on how to write a book in 2 weeks, a week, and even in 3 days.

The income you earn from Kindle can range from a small pittance to thousands of dollars. It all depends on your writing skills and your ability to write about subjects that interest other people.

HubPages


Yes, you can build a passive income by publishing articles on HubPages. I also find that HubPages is a great way for me to test out Kindle book ideas before I devote the time to writing the actual books. If the hub does well on HubPages, the chances are pretty high that the hub can be built into a book that will get decent sales on Kindle.

What I like most about HubPages is that if I invest a little time in writing hubs, I will get good returns in the form on money. Money earned from HubPages can be used for making small investments, such as peer to peer lending where you only need to invest $25 for each loan request.

Affiliate Ads


Build a blog and add affiliate links. I have been exploring this method for generating an extra income and I find that different methods and placements work differently for each blog. For example, my blog on writing does best with educational type affiliate ads that are placed in the middle of a blog post. It took me a few months to find the "sweet spot" for my readers, but now that I have, I can continue to place one of these affiliate ads in each post without cluttering up my blog.

Find relevant affiliate ads for your blog or find ads that will interest your readers, even if it isn't directly related to your niche. And if you don't have a blog yet, get started now. You are missing out on a great opportunity to earn some extra cash.

InfoBarrel


Similar to HubPages, InfoBarrel allows you to post your articles on its site and you earn a percentage of the Google Adsense clicks. You will need an Adsense account to earn money on this website, but it is well worth your time. Articles that you publish on this website have the potential to keep earning you money long after you have stopped writing for them.

Adsense


My earnings from Adsense fluctuate month to month. Some months are good and others are just plain awful. Regardless, the extra cash I am able to earn from Google's Adsense is still a blessing. Even if I only make it to the $100 payout by the skin of my teeth, that is still $100 I can invest and make more money off of. Earning $100 a month gives you $1,200 to invest and have your passive income earn more money for you.

Udemy


If you can write it, you can read it into the camera. Create online courses on Udemy for a fabulous passive income. If you write Kindle books, turn one of your books into a course or create a course and later on turn it into a book.

As writers, we need to expand and test out new methods of creating multiple passive incomes. This can mean stepping out of our comfort zones and creating videos, podcasts, and even a YouTube channel.

Complete Guide to How Writers Can Gain More Twitter Followers

When it comes to marketing your books and gaining a following, it is easy to get frustrated. I have found that the best approach to building up a following on social media is to simply focus on one platform. For this article, we are going to focus on Twitter.

Step 1 Your Twitter Username


Your Twitter username is essential to describing what your Twitter account is about. It is the name that appears after the @ on your page.

As a writer, you have many choices for choosing a Twitter username.


  • Use Your Name - If your name is easy to remember and spell, use the name you write your books under.
  • Book Series - If you are working on a series of books, you can use the series' name as your username.
  • Descriptive - If you are an expert in the field you write about or you are setting yourself up as an expert, choose words or a phrase that describes your field.
  • Character - To drum up a fan base, you can also create a username for the main character in your books. This works best if you are writing a series of books using that character, such as Harry Potter.


If you already have a Twitter account, you can easily change your username. Go into Setting--Account. Change your username to one that is not already taken. When I went to my Twitter account and changed my username to write4kindle, I got 5 new followers out of the blue within 20 minutes of the change. Your username is important.

Step 2 Photo


On your Twitter page there is a place for your photo. It is the small square image at the top of your screen. For the best resolution and sizing, make the picture 500 x 500 pixels, jpeg.

Types of Photos

As a writer, you can use all sorts of images for this spot.


  • Cover Photo - You can resize and adjust the cover of one of your books to fit the photo area.
  • Self Photo - You can post a picture of yourself to make your account more personable.
  • Logo - You can design a simple logo to represent your business, writing subject, or book series.
  • Graphic - Use an interesting graphic.
  • Photograph - You can resize any type of photograph to use in this space. For example, a photograph of a flower or a pet.


Step 3 Header Photo


The header photo is the image that is behind your photo. The recommended dimensions for the header photo is 1252 w x 626 h pixels. The file size may not exceed 5MB.

The header photo is a fairly new addition to Twitter, and it is a great way to further personalize your Twitter page.

Step 4 Website


As a writer, you really should have a website or blog. Link to your site on your profile page. If you don't have a website or blog, link to the bio page you hopefully created on Amazon.com or other publishing site.

Step 5 Bio


The Twitter bio is short and sweet, limited to 160 characters. In the bio you can briefly mention that you are a writer, such as "Writer of the Moody Madness Book Series." You can also include other information about yourself. Since my Twitter account is focused on helping people who want to write and self publish on Kindle, my bio reads, "A free resource for anyone who has ever wanted to write and self publish a book on Kindle." Short and to the point.

Step 6 What to Tweet


Tweets can be up to 140 characters in length. Each tweet that you write should provide some sort of benefit, including enjoyment, for your followers.

Tweet Examples


Free Book Downloads - I try and post one of these a day. If you publish on Kindle, you can set up a free book promotion. If you do, tweet the link for it which you can easily do by visiting your book's page on Amazon.com and clicking on the Twitter button at the top of the page. I also tweet other people's free book sales as a benefit for my followers.

Quotes - I love, love, love quotes. Don't you? Share your favorite quotes on Twitter once or twice a day.

Thoughts - Share personal thoughts and insights. Keep posts positive. Do not post flames.

Links - Share a link to the latest article on your website or blog. Share a relevant link from someone else's website or blog.

Videos - Share an interesting or relevant YouTube video every now and again.

Photograph - Share interesting or relevant photographs you have taken.

Step 7 Follow and Be Followed


And the secret to getting followers is (drumroll, please) to follow other people! That is it.

Finding People to Follow


Do this right now: Find another twitter account that has over 10,000 followers and is related to what you write about. For example, if you have written a romance novel and you want to find people who enjoy reading romance novels, you will do a search on Twitter for "romance books." One of the pages it will kick up is @eBook_Romance. If you click on their followers, you will be able to see all the people who follow them. Begin clicking the follow button for the readers that may be interested in your books. Follow 100 people and then check back in 2 hours or more (depending on the time of day / night) and see how many people have followed you back.

You can do up to 1,000 follows a day, but that will take up a lot of your time. 10 to 100 follows a day for writers is enough to slowly grow your Twitter followers.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

How to Invest With Your Passive Income

Let's face it. If you are just getting started in creating a passive income, your earnings aren't going to be high. So what should you be doing with your meager earnings? Investing.

Putting Passive Income to Work


For the record, I am not a financial advisor. I do not know all the ins and outs of investing. Instead, I am learning from my mistakes and successes and I am sharing them with you.

Just like everyone else, I have some great money makers and I have low performers, but it is all money. Passive income is the best money to play with because it will continue to roll in, month after month.

The concept that I recently adopted is putting my money to work for me. It does me no good if it is sitting in a checking or savings account, especially if it can be earning a higher interest rate in some other way. So, I have been exploring, and this is what I am now doing.

Peer to Peer Lending


I jumped into peer-to-peer lending because it allowed me to invest as little as $25 at a time. LendingClub.com allows people to request loans and invest in loans. You choose your own risk, from investing in people with stellar credit ratings to investing in people with low credit ratings.

I like LendingClub because it was easy to register and get started. I can also take a measly $50 check and invest it into two different loans. Over time, all those little investments add up, and so do your returns.

CDs


I am not crazy about CDs, but they do force me to save a large stockpile of money over a period of time. If you have a passive income source that brings in $1,000 a month, plunk it into a 1-year cd. At the end of a year, you will have $12,000 saved and tucked away.

You can also set up a CD ladder where you invest $1,000 for one year, $1,000 for two years, and so on.

Buy Gold and Silver


Visit the Apmex.com and begin buying gold, silver, and platinum. With small payouts from passive income, you can begin buying 1 gram bars of gold, 1 ounce silver bars, and you can even start investing in gold and silver coins. These are investments that you hold onto and only sell when the need is great and the prices are at an all-time high.

Of course, you could always simply pan for gold.

Online Business


You can always take your passive income earnings and invest them into starting a small, online business. This way, you are once again putting your money to work for you.

Don't know what kind of online business to start? Do an online search for small online business ideas. Explore different ideas and do the research.

Equipment


Invest your passive income into equipment that will help you earn more money online. For example, take your writing earnings and invest them into a new digital camera. Use your camera to take photographs for your articles. You can also start selling your pictures and generate yet another source of passive income.

Another idea is to invest your passive income into a camcorder. Use that money to start making videos for a YouTube channel and to create Udemy courses. Both of these places will generate even more passive income for you.

Education


Investing in yourself and your education is about the best gift you can give yourself. Get yourself certified for something at your local community college. Build a new offline career. Write about your experience, blog about it, write article about it, and build upon your passive income platforms while you are in the process of learning.

Invest in a Blog


If you haven't invested in a blog yet, you are missing out on a wonderful way to build another stream of passive income. With just $50, you can purchase a domain name and a few months of hosting. With $100, you can also start buying a few posts on Kindle for your blog.

The more you can put your money to work for you, the more you can invest, the more your monthly earnings and overall wealth increases.

Going from One Scene to the Next in Fiction - Transitions

What is a Transition


A transition in fiction is when the writer goes from one scene or time to another. An example of this is when a chapter ends with the main character going to bed and the next chapter begins with the main character already at work the next day.

How Not to Do a Transition


Let's say that you need to get your character from her day job to a restaurant. The wrong way to make this transition would be to describe everything this character does to get to the restaurant.

Sally couldn't get out of work fast enough. She grabbed her time card and punched out. It was 5 o'clock on the dot. If she hurried she could make it to the restaurant on time.

She put on her coat and, holding her purse under her shoulder, she dashed out of the building. It was raining. She held out her arm, "Taxi!" No luck, but the bus was pulling in at the stop at the corner. She held her purse over her head and made a run for it. She made it to the bus in time.

She sat down in the front seat. She would be at the restaurant in ten minutes. She would make it in time. Sally sat there and waited.

Finally the bus pulled up to the restaurant. Sally got up and walked down the steps to the sidewalk. She walked up to the restaurant door and opened it. She had made it in time for the meeting.

Most readers would find the above transition very boring to read. It is also unnecessary to take a character through all that humdrum just to get from one place to another.

How to Write Proper Transition


A proper transition takes the character from one place (or time) to another without all the tedious humdrum in between.

Sally glanced at the clock on the wall. It was almost time. The nervous ball in the pit of her stomach ate away at her. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. I can do this, she thought.

She stepped into the restaurant, slightly damp from the rain. The cool air raised goosebumps and she held her arms close to herself to get warm. Where was he? She peered into the dark room beyond the entrance.

The Four Space Skip and Shorter Chapters


Not so long ago, writers would use asterisks to show the start of a new scene (***), but today four spaces are commonly used to show the beginning of the next scene.

Shorter chapters are also common in books with multiple scenes, such as action adventure novels or detective novels where the main character flits from one event to the next. For example, I am currently reading A Hard Death by Jonathan Hayes. In his book he has chapters that are as short as two pages and, glancing through, I don't see a chapter longer than 5 pages. His main character moves around a lot and is always on the go. Mr. Hayes uses chapter breaks to transition his main character from one scene to another.

Polish Transitions During Your 2nd and 3rd Drafts


Don't worry about creating the perfect transition during your first draft. In fact, if writing long details during your first draft feels natural to you, then do it. When you go back into your manuscript the second and third time, you can edit those long transitions and cut them out completely. More can be said with fewer words.


Also, think of what you like when reading. Think of what you skip over. I tend to skip over long details and descriptions, so I cut them out of my stories. Add only what is necessary to the story and keep the plot moving.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Train Yourself to Be a Novelist

So you want to be a novelist? You can spend your entire life dreaming about what it is like to be a novelist, but you will never know what it is really like until you take that first leap into writing.

Keep a Journal of Ideas


All writers get ideas, notions, and snippets of possible novels. Forget about trying to remember the ideas and write them in a journal instead. Some people keep their ideas in files on their computer, but writing them down into a notebook has worked best for me because there is less of a chance that I will lose my work if it is in hard copy. Buy a cheap notebook at a dollar store and some good pens. Make it a habit to write down ideas, titles, and personal thoughts in your writer’s journal every day.

Study Writing


All writers who are worth their weight in pennies know that they need to study writing and grammar to continuously improve their skills. I am no exception, and neither are you. Visit the library and take out books on writing. Visit used book shops and buy even more. Plan on reading at least 3 to 4 books on writing and grammar a year.

Writing Exercises


In the beginning, plan on doing at least one writing exercise a day. There are plenty of free online resources for writing exercises and there are books, as well. I’ve been selling my words since 1997 and I still do writing exercises, especially when I am in a bit of a slump. The effort never goes to waste because I publish the completed exercises on blogs and content mills.

Create a Schedule


Create a realistic writing schedule. Plan to write for at least 30 minutes a day in the beginning. Don’t schedule too much time because you will set yourself up for failure. Keep track of your daily word count when you are writing on the computer. Plan on increasing your word count each day, even if it is only by one word. Most important - stick with it. Don’t give up, no matter how frustrated you might get. Just keep on writing, keep on typing, and turn your dreams into reality.